The Masters: How sport united to celebrate Tiger Woods’ 2019 win

The world of golf and sport beyond united to celebrate Tiger Woods’ long-awaited 15th major triumph at the Masters in 2019 and were in no doubt of its significance for the sport.

Woods had threatened victory in a major in 2018 at both The Open and at the PGA Championship, but there was a certain poetry to him claiming a fifth Green Jacket at the venue where he burst onto the golf scene in 1997.

After undergoing four potentially career-ending back surgeries and having confessed he may never play competitive golf again, Woods defied his doubters to emerge from a crowded leaderboard to clinch a memorable Augusta success.

Jack Nicklaus, whose 18 major wins remains the record to beat, was effusive in his congratulations in the immediacy of Woods’ victory at the age 43, after years of injury struggles and troubles in his personal life.

“I am so happy for him and for the game of golf. This is just fantastic!!!” Nicklaus wrote on Twitter.

The tributes were widespread for the former world No 1 and Rory McIlroy echoed Nicklaus’ sentiment: “Couldn’t be happier for him, what a great day for golf.”

Woods’ long-time American rival Phil Mickelson also posted praise on his Twitter account, describing it as “a great moment for the game of golf.”

Woods’ win at Augusta National ensured golf was front and centre of worldwide interest, underlining the resonance the American continues to hold.

His victory was reward for persistence and mental fortitude following his fall for grace, epitomised by the roar of joy that Woods spontaneously allowed himself after clinching victory, with his children watching on behind the 18th green.

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November 12, 2020, 6:00pm

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“It’s an amazing story,” said Tommy Fleetwood. “Not just in golf, in sport; in life.”

Tony Finau played alongside Woods in the final group and he conceded being in his company amid the frenzied interest in his countryman’s pursuit of victory was a memory which would live long in his memory.

“It was great,” Finau said. “To witness that, a handful of years ago I don’t know a lot of people believed that Tiger would win another major.”

Woods’ former coach Butch Harmon, who guided him to three wins at The Masters, was working as a pundit for Sky Sports and said the victory was the best of his career: “I think it’s the greatest win Tiger has ever had in any championship – and he’s had a lot of them!”

In commentary, Harmon added: “I’ve never seen him show emotion like that. At any time, anywhere, any time in his life. He was humbled by his own mistakes, the things he went through he created, nobody else created them, and he came out the other side.

“He got himself help, he got his body right, he got his head right and he went to work on his game. I couldn’t be happier for him and his family.”

Fellow sporting greats away from golf joined the long list of names keen to offer their praise, including 23-time Grand Slam singles tennis champion Serena Williams.

“I am literally in tears watching Tiger Woods, this is Greatness like no other,” Williams tweeted. “Knowing all you have been through physically to come back and do what you just did today? Wow. Congrats a million times! I am so inspired.”

Avid golf fan and Golden State Warriors player Steph Curry, who has previously played on the Web.com Tour, described Woods’ victory as the “greatest comeback story in sports”.

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Former basketball player Magic Johnson said that “the roar of the Tiger is back”.

Former England Test captain Sir Ian Botham said: “I’ve just watched one of the biggest inspirational performances… Who said he wouldn’t win another major…no 15 and more to come.”

Watch the Sky Original documentary ‘Tiger Woods: Back’, which takes an in-depth look into the golfer’s 2019 Masters victory with never-before-seen footage from the Sky Sports archive, On Demand.

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